Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Front/Back Divide

Bon après-midi mes chipmunks gais

I hate Sundays...inept morons run around like headless chickens on cocaine trying to sit customers, give them menus and then take the orders...not exactly rocket science, is it? Nope, certainly ain't. That is why I, and many many other Chefs, use the term 'moron'. A 'moron' is a plate carrier, a soup jockey, a lowly serf...they are not only there to run around for the customer but the Chefs also. A term such as 'kitchen b***h' is commonly used to describe certain types of morons. They fetch drinks for the kitchen crew, cutlery when we eat, run errands to various shops for numerous items, mop floors, plate desserts and a plethora of various tasks.

In the eyes of a Chef, they are there for him. No one else! Its almost like having a gun dog. They come when they are called and execute the bidding of the Chef. That's it. No less!

For many years this has been the staple of many a kitchen. Until recently 'morons' knew there place. Yet now I find myself in a world unknown to me...a parallel universe has appeared and these 'morons' seem to be treated equally. This sort of bugs me a little. Am I living in the past? Is this my ego trip coming to an end? Has every kitchen in the country taken leave of its senses? Apparently not!

Today, while cooking myself some dinner (a traditional Linguine Carbonara if you are interested) I looked toward one of the new 'morons' I have the displeasure of working in close proximity to and requested a set of cutlery and napkin along with a double espresso and a Red Bull and Coke Chaser on the side. So, what was the answer this 'moron' gave me? What impertinent statement emanated from the mouth of said 'moron'? (Any Chefs reading this please brace yourselves)... "I'm Busy...Get it yourself!".

Well, they say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...Satan and all his devilish minions have obviously never met a Chef!!!

I turned red then purple, my eyes began to blacken as a dark murk clouded my vision, fixed on my prey, my voice lowered and the words slowly began to rise from my vocal chords, a fiendish undertone shaking my dupe to his very core. Almost cowering, he seemed to prepare himself for the inevitable tyriad of verbal abuse that was about to rain down on his sorry, miserable ass! In his eyes, you could see he was already regretting his slip-up, his misdemeanor...his sacrilege!


It was at this point, his eyes had glazed over like he was starting to float away, off to a little happy place in his mind......I didn't notice, I didn't care. Sixteen years in the Trade and there was no way on this Earth a 'moron' was going to get away with it. Talk back at me????? Was this f**kwit insane? Deranged? Suicidal? Many before him had tried and suffered the consequences...Now it his turn, little s**t that he was!

I use the past tense in my last sentence as he is now languishing in my walk-in fridge, hog-tied, with a delightfully juicy Bramley apple in his mouth and my Sous Chef is currently dressing him in a robust Honey and Almond marinade for the next 48 hours before we drop him off at Knowsley Safari Park in the Baboon Sanctuary with a Banana tightly fixed between his bum cheeks! Let's be honest now, he will get off lightly.

In the immortal words of Mr Bob Dylan...'the times they are a' changin' but is it really the way forward? Personally, I think not. I was trained in an 'Old School' manner...Chefs were treated with honour, integrity and most of all respect! Commis were treated with disgust, contempt and aggression but we all moved up the ladder and became personable people!

With all this New Age hullabaloo focusing on bullying in the work place, extensive sexual innuendo, abusive verbal communication and numerous other unpolitically correct scenarios I have found myself in a type of 'no mans land', forever searching for that true and righteous kitchen that still understands the hierarchy of kitchens past. If it wasn't for the Industry only God knows where I would be! More often than not I liken the old form of training to National Service. You do your time, take all the s**t that is slung your way and come out the other end a better person...hopefully!

The youth of today have a lot to learn about respect...especially for their elders and if National Service wont be brought back to the forefront then its time our schools did!!! Our Governing bodies have become so tangled up in being politically correct that they have lost sight of the hopes and dreams of our previous leaders and academics. They have lost sight of the fundamentals that make Great Britain a country of family values and National Pride! In short...send the kitchens of Great Britain your delinquent and wayward teenagers, We as a collective will sort them out!

And now the I have been out of touch with recent events, you may have picked up certain events that I haven't so please be patient with me...

A Muslim catering manager has taken the Metropolitan Police to tribunal claiming he was racially abused and threatened with the sack for refusing to cook pork.

The 'Chef' in question refused to cook any pork products due to religious values and now he feels persecuted and discriminated against for his beliefs. Okay, lets start with the physical aspect...Michael Caines has one arm and holds Michelin stars and numerous Chefs have extreme allergies to certain foodstuffs (I do also), on religious grounds I can understand someone not wanting to handle produce that is against their beliefs, but to apply and be accepted for a position in a kitchen environment that caters for the general Police workforce, even if promised you would not have to cook certain produce, is pretty laughable! Who would have thought that the British Constabulary would like Bacon or Sausage sandwiches...Unheard of!!!

Welcome to the world of ever expanding 'no win. no fee' law practices! In my opinion...DEAL WITH IT!!!

Very sad news now as country house hotel Shendish Manor in Hemel Hempstead has become the latest hotel to be placed into administration.

The 70-bedroom hotel was refurbished in 2007, adding a new hotel wing with 52 rooms, but it has been hit by falling demand.

Loved by many, Shendish Manor has our full support and our thoughts are with the staff at this current point in time. Hopefully the new owners will honour their obligations as proprietors and also honour the advanced bookings by numerous customers.

On a lighter note and going back to my 'National Pride' comment, I was wonderfully surprised on my way into work on Friday when I drove into the town of Audlem which is in the delightful county of Cheshire.

On my entrance to said village, I noticed an abundance of Union Jacks in the form of flags flying and masses of bunting all leading to the centre point of the village in front of St James Church. A sight I have never seen before except in photos of Coronations and 'times gone by' street parties.

This exuberance marks the beginning of the Audlem Festival 09 which manifests itself every year and is becoming more and more popular as the years go by. Mainly a music festival the village people get geared up for an onslaught of revellers, including the locals, who descend on the many establishments in the area to sing and dance the night away to local groups and solo artists.

For FULL information go to,

Never before have I seen such a Community organise an event with such vigour.

These wonderful affairs on a regular basis. Time to let Britain shine!!!

On that 'wafer thin mint' I must bid you... Nice one Son! (For 'Nice One Son' read whatever dialect you would use to say 'Goodbye'...must make sure I include everyone or I'm for the chopping block!!!

Blimey! goodnight my bread an' butter puddings. . Nuff said, yeah? All the best, innit!

Le Chef Grincheux

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